JERSEY CITY, N.J., January 15, 2004 — U.S. property/casualty insurers paid $12.8 billion to homeowners and businesses for insured property losses from 21 catastrophic events last year, according to current estimates by Insurance Services Office, Inc.'s (ISO) Property Claim Services (PCS) unit. Policyholders filed more than 2.6 million personal and commercial property and automobile claims for the year.
Though 2003 was the third costliest year for catastrophe losses in the past 10 years — exceeded only by the $28.1 billion loss in 2001 and $17 billion in 1994 — the fourth quarter's $2.64 billion loss from five events was the highest during the same period. The quarter's high losses were driven by two California wildfires that caused insured losses of $2.03 billion, in addition to $610million in losses from three wind and thunderstorm events in 27 states.
Catastrophic events during the year affected 39 states. California suffered the highest insured losses at $2.1 billion, followed by Texas at $1.5 billion, Tennessee at $1.2 billion, Oklahoma at $1.1 billion and Virginia at $1 billion.
Following is a recap of U.S. insured losses from catastrophes since 1994:
|Total Number of Events
* Largely due to Sept. 11 losses
ISO's PCS unit defines a catastrophe as an event within a particular territory that causes $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of property and casualty policyholders and insurers.
PCS estimates represent anticipated insured loss on an industrywide basis arising from catastrophes, reflecting the total net insurance payment for personal and commercial property lines of insurance covering fixed property, personal property, vehicles, boats, related property items and business-interruption losses. The estimates exclude losses insured by the National Flood Insurance Program and all loss-adjustment expenses.
ISO is a leading source of information, products and services related to property and liability risk. For a broad spectrum of commercial and personal lines of insurance, ISO provides data, analytical and decision-support products; consulting; data processing; and technical, statistical and actuarial services. ISO field services include on-site rating and underwriting services and the evaluation of community loss-mitigation efforts. ISO's products help customers with sales and prospecting, underwriting, rating and quoting, customer management, policy administration, product development, claims administration and fraud detection. ISO's AIR Worldwide subsidiary provides technologies to assess and manage natural and man-made extreme-event risk. Through its ISO Claims Services, Inc. (iiX unit) and Intellicorp subsidiaries, ISO provides motor vehicle reports and criminal-records information and through its AscendantOne unit delivers rating, quoting and policy-administration solutions. In the United States and around the world, ISO serves insurers, reinsurers, agents, brokers, self-insureds, risk managers, insurance regulators and other government agencies.